Well, I find myself in a bit of a quandary. Following the debacle of my Awesome $29.99 Nixie Tube Watch blog, the featured item of which we now believe to be a scam, I’m a little gun-shy with regard to presenting other products that I find to be fun, frivolous, and techno-geek cool (which, as we all know, is as cool as cool can be).

As an aside, a couple of my friends who read the aforementioned blog actually placed orders for the purported timepieces. They both emailed me to tell me that they’ve received emails saying their purchases are on the way. We now have little hope that the items delivered will be as promised, but we are looking forward to seeing what is sent in great antici…

…pation! Fortunately, both of my friends used PayPal and are confident they will get their money back if and when this does prove to be a scam. I will report further when we know more.

Until a few minutes ago, I was planning on telling you about a couple of cool Kickstarter projects I ran across recently: the LumiCube (an LED cube kit for the Raspberry Pi) and the IV3 Clock (a rather tasty Nixie tube clock kit).

But then my old chum Michael Dunn — who used to be the Editor-in-Chief at Electronic Design News and is also the owner of Cantares Electronic Design and Consulting — pointed me at something that has left me drooling with desire.

Michael’s cryptic message was “Here’s another crazy thing to feast thine orbs upon.” This was accompanied a link to an item on AliExpress that’s described somewhat loquaciously as RGB Analog Glow Tube Clock Colorful LED Backlight Nixie Clock USB Electronic DIY Digital LED Clock Gift Boyfriend Gift (Phew!).

Just a few of the various display effects (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: AliExpress)

At first, I thought I was looking at a six-element Nixie tube clock. “Not too shabby,” I thought, “but no cigar.” But then I noticed something strange. On closer inspection, we discover that this clock’s digits aren’t Nixie tubes — they are glass tubes containing small display screens that have been programmed to look like Nixie tubes.

In addition to a couple of different Nixie tube effects, there’s also a split-flap display, a LEGO block display, and — as you can see in the upper left of the image — a presentation format I don’t even know how to describe. In fact, as I understand it, there are more than 20 supplied formats, plus (I believe) you have the ability to add your own custom images.

O-M-G, this looks awesome, is all I can say. At $147 plus $9 shipping and handling to the USA (I’ve rounded both prices up to the nearest dollar), I think this is a bargain basement price (note that this is marked as a pre-sale item with an estimated delivery of 19 May 2021). I want one of these bodacious beauties so badly I can taste it, but I simply don’t have the cash to splash at the moment (a little tear just rolled down my cheek and dropped on my keyboard).

One thing I am going to do is to keep my eyes open for some glass tubes and small display screens to maybe make my own implementation.

How about you? Are you as awestruck by this concept as am I? Do you think you might be tempted to purchase one of these for yourself? If you do, please, PLEASE send me an email when it arrives to let me know if it’s as droolworthy as I think it’s going to be.